iTunes Diaries, entry #44: “Room at the Top” by Adam Ant

I was once a little…um, okay, terribly obsessed with iTunes.  I got my first iPod in 2004 and became immediately entranced by Apple’s seeming infinite lists of music for sale.  Over the years, I spent way too much time on iTunes and spent way too much money on music, some of which was great, and some of which was not.  In 2011, for the sake of my sanity and my bank account, I went cold turkey.  I suspended my iTunes activities and completely stopped visiting site.  With the iTunes Diaries, I take a look back, highlighting the good, the bad, and the ugly in music that I just had to have in the moment. 


Nowadays, whenever I hear Adam Ant’s “Room at the Top,” I want it to be a better song. Listening to the song now with my old, stick-in-the-mud ears, I really wonder what made me like it in the first place. It’s just so middling and uninteresting as far as 90s pop songs go.

Oooooohhhh, okay. It’s been awhile since I watched its video, but I remember now.

It was because of Adam Ant.

Yep. He’s pretty damn cute in that video, semi-zoot suit, history lesson, and all…goofy, striking, and charismatic. Of course my teenage brain fell quite head over heels.

Also, one must consider the climate into which “Room at the Top” was released.

Kids…the year was 1990.  In my head, that year takes the form of a benign mass consisting of Nelson Mandela, Gremlins 2, Julia Roberts as the hooker with a heart of gold, Germany (the two become one), and an obsession with some new park in far-away Florida called “Universal Studios,” among other events. In terms of me and mainstream music, it marked the penultimate year in which I paid close attention to Top 40 radio, and in which I realized that Top 40 radio fucking sucked.  (To this day, anything by Taylor Dane makes me want to scratch out my eyes so that the pain of sticking red-hot pokers in my ears won’t be as bad. The same goes for “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Conner, and most anything by Michael Bolton and Mariah Carey [“All I Want for Christmas” being the only exception]).

My relationship with “Room at the Top” followed a similar path to that of Jane Child’s “I Don’t Wanna Fall in Love,” only Adam Ant’s 90s persona didn’t pop up in grocery store muzak in later years. (Sorry, you’ll just have to read the Jane Child post to understand, she said shamelessly.) If anything, my evolution away from Top 40 and into 80s and classic rock made me realize that Adam Ant was way more brilliant than “Room at the Top.” Somewhere along the way I heard “Goody Two Shoes,” a wonderfully boppy and cheeky song he released in 1982. And that eventually led to discovering the classic “Stand and Deliver,” as well as his punk roots as Adam and the Ants.

Given my penchant towards guys in make-up, you’d think that I should have found a home in more and Adam Ant’s early career. Though I did pick up Prince Charming (1981), the album on which “Stand and Deliver” appears, I remember more songs from Manners & Physique (1990). Considering that I no longer have those tapes, and that “Room at the Top” is currently the only Adam Ant song on my iPod, well…

…WAIT. Is “Room at the Top” really the only Adam Ant song on my iPod???

**pulls out Ipod…frantically scrolls through artists’ names**

Shit. It really is.

Well, goddamn. I gotta fix that someday.

Adam Ant – Manners & Physique (1990)



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